cover image The Gathering

The Gathering

C.J. Tudor. Ballantine, $29 (352p) ISBN 978-0-593356-59-3

Vampires, or “vampyrs,” roam the earth—and provoke heated political debate—in this wildly imaginative supernatural thriller from Tudor (The Drift). Though vampyrs rarely attack humans, hostility toward them in the early 20th century led to the decimation of the species and their relegation to several remote colonies across the United States. In 1983, the federal government enacted the Vampyr Protection Act, declaring them a protected species and polarizing the electorate—right-wing religious fanatics believe vampyrs should be exterminated, while “woke liberals” consider them vulnerable minorities. Against this fraught backdrop, homicide detective Barbara Atkins, who has her PhD in forensic vampyr anthropology, is dispatched to the small town of Deadhart, Alaska, after local teen Marcus Anderson is killed and his neighbors blame a vampyr. While the citizens of Deadhart prepare to cull the nearby vampyr colony in retaliation, Atkins teams up with the local sheriff to investigate Marcus’s death. As they dig, Atkins and the sheriff come to suspect the vampyr theory is cover for a much more personal motive—and then someone else turns up dead. Tudor leverages her snowbound setting for maximum atmosphere, and never lets her high-concept premise overwhelm patient character development. This frostbitten procedural is a bloody good time. Agent: Madeleine Milburn, Madeleine Milburn Literary. (Apr.)